Rockets Daily: Friday, September 10th, 2010

  • Would Rockets fans have been upset had Luis Scola, that newly re-signed king of swarth, been injured on his path toward a World Championship for his home country? Well, what if he got nipped in a consolation prize game? Those are the available options after Lithuania soundly trounced an ice-cold Argentinian team by participating in a three-point contest in the middle of the game, draining 9 of Lithuania’s first 11 threes and shooting 50% beyond the arc overall. Argentina “responded” with its own 19% clip from long range, a staggeringly bad number that is only intensified by the fact that the Argentinians only shot three less bombs than their opponents. No, there was not even a glimmer of hope on the individual Argentinian Jesus front, as he missed 7 of his first 10 shots after truly going hard in the paint by averaging 30 throughout the tournament. Scola ended this one with 13 points on 16 shots, essentially setting his chances at tournament MVP aflame. Grieve not, though, my vicarious Argentinian fans, as the national team will suit up today in the consolation tourney, taking on a Russian team that’s simply glad it doesn’t have to guard a 6’11″ velociraptor with a smooth release from range. Again.
  • Did you know that Carmelo Anthony may no longer want to be a Nugget? The various permutations of this deal with Chicago all seem much less kind to the Bulls than the proposed Rockets/Nuggets swaps, even including Martin. While SLAM questions whether Denver could accept Joakim Noah back as the prize of a deal for Anthony, I think I’m not exactly alone in questioning the logic of that deal for the Bulls. While some deep-dish-saucer-eyed Second City fans may be envisioning a holy triumvirate of Anthony, Boozer and Rose to combat the talents that have been taken to South Beach, most scrutinizing NBA fans see a lot of points for a Bulls team that has desperately needed them but along with an imminent, gigantic defensive falloff for a team that was only pretty good at it last year. Yes, maybe the arrival of Tom Thibodeau will help solidify the defense, but betting that much on any rookie coach, no matter the pedigree, seems reckless, especially while dealing away the parts essential for him to implement his defensive philosophy. The Bulls always seem to find their way into the mix of these big-name deals without ever actually making any of them happen, though, so let’s just hope this is all just Chicago blowing smoke. Well, I’m sure someone in Chicago’s probably blowing smoke in reaction to the news.
  • So, the list of people who still think the Rockets have a chance at landing LaLa Vasquez’s hot-tempered husband is down to… lingerie football league teams’ blogs? 8% chance at that? Not bad, ladies.
  • The guys at Heart of a Champion are pretty enthusiastic about Chase Budinger’s chances at being a 6th Man of the Year.  I tend to agree with the only one of them to sell the idea of Buddy being a 6th Man candidate, mostly for the same reasons. Budinger looks to be an integral part of this team as presently constructed, having to take his minutes between back up 2 and the all-important back-up wing, so he will see a lot of playing time. Still, after an off-season of spending and talent “progressing” (Yao getting healthy, Martin getting acclimated, Brad Miller buying some comfy cargo shorts), Budinger finds himself as the fifth or sixth best scoring option on a team that needs him to focus on things other than having the ball in his hands. While I do see the possibility for a breakout year, I’d doubt we’d see it end with any kind of hardware.
  • It seems to be the norm to hear young, insanely talented basketball players tell us a list of the NBA players by which they were inspired (or simply the ones of which they’re aware). LeBron watched Magic (though he’s only 25 and would have been 6 while watching Johnson’s last Finals run), Kobe watched everyone (because no one can just say Jordan) and even Michael himself picked some stuff up from a wily veteran. Why don’t you ask Hedo Turkoglu who he watched growing up? The New York Times‘ Pete Thamel reveals that it’s almost certainly not who you’d expect: “Turkey’s rapid rise as a basketball power can be traced, in part, to ‘The White Shadow,’ whose 54 episodes appeared on black-and-white TV here from 1980 to 1982. ‘It made people aware of basketball in Turkey,’ said Alper Yilmaz, a former national team player who works in the front office of Efes Pilsen, a club in Istanbul that has won 13 Turkish League titles since its founding in 1976. ‘There was already basketball in Turkey,’ Yilmaz added, ‘but after that show, everyone started playing.’”
  • A day after remarking on the fact that Ron Artest is one of the weirdest guys in professional sports history, the Funky Worm himself, Dennis Rodman, steps it up a notch. He already rolled his SUV several times without actually injuring himself (or the girl he was with!!!) this summer, a Bruce-Willis-ian feat that requires suspension of disbelief and a good memory of all of the damage he incurred guarding men seemingly twice his height in the last decade. Well, let’s just say this story is less amazing because of its lack of physical limitations than because of Rodman’s obvious lack of respect for… um, everything? At a party in the swanky, mythologized New York neighborhood, Dennis Rodman scooped up six girls at a hotel party, took them upstairs and whispered sweet nothings in their ears… and the ears of every other person at the hotel (this story may be slightly NSFW): “Promoters at the Hotel Indigo in Hampton Bays were astonished when they heard Rodman talking dirty over the music at their pool party in the early hours of Monday morning. A source told us, ‘Rodman had quite a lot to drink and had been making shout-outs on the mike. He headed up to his room with six girls. Then, the next thing you could hear through the speakers downstairs was Rodman describing in full sexual detail what he wanted to do to them … Rodman’s agent, Darren Prince, confirmed, ‘He was unaware of the microphone being turned on . . . I do know he had a few drinks in him.’”
  • For the weekend, I leave you all with Chris Paul’s son, whose passion for the thing he loves most should be emulated by every player in this league for the things they love. Especially if it’s this damn cute.
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